Blacktown City Council is leading the way with citizenship ceremonies, welcoming almost 3,000 new citizens in 2022 and setting the standard for virtual ceremonies in Australia.
In fact, Blacktown City was the first council in Australia to conduct a virtual group citizenship ceremony.
After almost two years of Council’s citizenship ceremonies being held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person ceremonies returned in March, and four ceremonies have been held since.
In July, Mayor Tony Bleasdale OAM was honoured to welcome an extraordinary 1695 new citizens across 2 super citizenship ceremonies at Blacktown Leisure Centre, Stanhope.
“This followed Council’s super citizenship ceremony in May, where 949 of our residents pledged their allegiance to Australia and our March event, where we welcomed 199 new citizens,” Mayor Bleasdale said.
“Across these four ceremonies alone, 2,843 residents became Australian citizens.
“These ceremonies are an important responsibility. There is precise planning and coordination from Council’s wonderful staff to ensure they are an occasion to remember for our new citizens.”
During the height of COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions Council began delivering citizenship ceremonies virtually – the first of these was held in August 2020.
More than 3,000 residents received their citizenship virtually during this time, and Blacktown City set the standard across Australia in delivering these ceremonies online.
Mayor Bleasdale was able to speak with recipients individually and share stories during the ceremonies, with translators available to assist where required.
“Council’s ceremony process was reviewed by the Department of Home Affairs, which encouraged all councils in Australia to follow our lead,” Mayor Bleasdale said.
“Blacktown City Council staff have since assisted 16 councils, including the City of Melbourne and City of Newcastle, in developing their own virtual group ceremonies.
“Many councils have since implemented similar processes and moved away from one-on-one virtual ceremonies to group virtual ceremonies.
“It is a true testament to the staff that the work of Blacktown Council in implementing these ceremonies has received much praise from many councils.
“There is no doubt that the smiles on the faces all our new citizens when they receive their citizenship reflects these highly commendable efforts from everyone involved.”
Blacktown City receives a high number of applications for citizenship and approves an average of 500 applications each month.
Photo: Blacktown City Mayor Tony Bleasdale OAM with dignitaries and new citizens at Blacktown City Council’s July Super Citizenship Ceremony.